Monstrous and Macabre: Should You Be Reading ‘Wytches’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it's hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there's so much to choose from that it's sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading... ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
Wytches is a horror comic from writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock, with colors by Matt Hollingsworth, published by Image and debuting in October 2014. The series follows a family that relocates to escape the trauma of a troubling past, only to discover that there's something far more sinister lurking in the woods by their new home.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Centered on the Rooks family, Wytches picks up shortly after daughter Sailor’s harassment at the hands of local bully Annie. In the midst of Sailor’s persecution, Annie is taken and eventually murdered by an indistinguishable ghastly figure in the forest. Rumor and gossip begin swirling around Sailor’s questionable encounter with Annie, painting her as the likely murderer.
Sailor, along with her mom and and dad, relocate to Litchfield to start a better life. But things quickly go awry when Sailor is haunted by a demonic version of Annie, and discovers that she has been 'pledged' to a group of monsters named 'wytches'. It’s up to Sailor’s father Charlie to save his daughter from the wytches, while coming to grips with his faults as a parent.
WHO'S IT BY?
Batman fans are sure to be familiar with Snyder, as his DC work includes a lengthy and ongoing run on Detective Comics, with arcs that include Black Mirror alongside Wytches artist Jock. Snyder is no stranger to horror, having also worked on Swamp Thing, Vertigo’s American Vampire series with artist Rafael Albuquerque, and The Wake with artist Sean Murphy. His narratives are purposefully intricate, tying together the minuscule and the epic to tell fantastic stories.
Jock has an impressive resume that includes work for DC, Vertigo, Marvel, and Image. One of Jock’s most notable projects is 2007’s Green Arrow: Year One, with writer Andy Diggle, which created a brooding and gritty backdrop for Starling City that would later inspire the CW hit series Arrow. Jock’s work is noted for its often dark and sinister tone in projects like Savage Wolverine and Hellblazer.
WHAT MAKES WYTCHES SPECIAL?
The introduction of the monsters in Wytches follows the tradition of classic Hollywood monster films; low visibility, high impact. Jock shapes the world to be menacing, shadowy and deceitful, and the art is unlike most book of it’s genre, filled with colorful floating elements and indescribable marks that add depth to the environment. You never know what’s lurking in these shadows.
While Wytches doesn’t hold back on the grim terrors of its titular creatures, Scott Snyder laces the story with commentary about relationships, childhood, and horrors that are much more intimate and familiar than the monsters in the woods. Sailor exhibits traditional adolescent fears, and her trauma is harrowing and indicative of the cruelties of youth. Wytches shows that running from monstrous truths won't fix a thing.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Wytches should definitely be on the list of fans of the horror genre, particularly Stephen King lovers. This book is also great for fans of comics focused on youth and youth culture --- think of it as a grittier and less glamorous answer to the works of Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen. This is a series that will appeal to readers seeking out sinister, dark, and alternative works.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?